CONYERS - Former Heritage golfer Bill Jones III keeps getting close but cannot quite seem to finish in the top.
After posting a 1-under-par 71 in the U.S. Amateur qualifying round at The Standard Club in Duluth on Monday, he came back and hit a snag on the 10th hole the next day, posting a 3-over 75.
Jones finished the tournament tied for 15th with a total of 146, four shy of qualifying to play in the U.S. Amateur Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
"It's pretty frustrating," Jones said. "I've been playing out at The Standard Club all summer just trying to get ready for it and get more comfortable with the course. I actually hit the ball pretty well both days."
"I was actually disappointed on my first day score," he said. "I shot a 71 but felt it should've been at least a 69 or 68. But being in ninth place, I felt I only had to beat three or four guys to make it."
Finishing the front nine at 1-over par on the second day, Jones was looking at a 150-yard second shot on the 10th hole.
He grabbed a pitching wedge and knocked the ball 15 yards past the green. He never found the ball, forcing him to incur a penalty, getting a double bogey and all but eliminating him from contention.
"It was a little more than that, but that kind of killed everything," he said. "At that point I was still in contention, but after making that double (bogey), I had to make five more birdies to make it. The way they had the course set up, I knew that wasn't going to happen.
"I can think of four shots in the middle seven holes that I could've made up," Jones said. "It was a pretty strong field and I saw some of the other guys that didn't make it that I was expecting to make it so I wasn't the only one."
"In the second round, I had a lot of birdies, but I had a lot of shots. The pins were tougher and I had trouble keeping my distances right. I would hit one long where you can't and make a bogey. Then I would make a couple of birdies and get back to a decent score, but I would give them back."
Former Eastside golfer Taylor Smith also made a valiant opening-day effort in the qualifying round.
After shooting a 73, tied for 21st and seven off the lead, Smith was unable to continue his positive play. He shot an 11-over 83 on the second day.
He finished in 44th place with a 156. There were 144 players in the tournament with the top 47 making the cut for the second day.
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.